Photo by Ed Krieger
Photo by Ed Krieger
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PERFECT TIMING

 

Reviewed by Deborah Klugman

At Theatre 40

Through December 21

 

RECOMMENDED:

 

Just as there are films we call chick flicks and books we call chick lit, so there are plays that for want of a better term you might refer to as chick theater.

 

Kristi Kane’s Perfect Timing is such a play. Directed by Bruce Gray on a tasteful elegant set (designer Jeff G. Rack), It’s a pretty piece of fluff with Noel Coward-like overtones.  The script – which premiered in Van Nuys in 1981 – isn’t new or fresh or deep, but overall the production is entertaining and well-done.

 

The play is set in the frou-frou neighborhood of Knightsbridge, London, at some indeterminate time “before cell phones and the internet.”  Cordelia (Helen Anker) is an art critic engaged to a stuffy banker named Alex (Martin Thompson) who sometimes sleeps over but still has his own place.

 

Cordelia’s housemate is her administrative assistant Vivianna (Christine Joelle), a composed and organized woman – in contrast to Cordelia, a social butterfly who gets flustered if the doorbell and telephone ring at the same time.

 

The action gets going when Gerrard (Shawn Savage), a handsome hunky artist, makes a surprise entrance into Cordelia’s living room and declares himself smitten by her charms. Cordelia is pretty taken with him too. She’s now faced with a choice between boring reliable Alex and this new dishy dude – a nice guy, as it turns out, but low wattage in the thinking department.

 

Cordelia’s third option – the most attractive of all – is to do them both.  She goes for it, and the rest of the play tracks the permutations of her love life as her lovers exit her world and then re-enter it, sometimes with new paramours of their own in tow.

 

Perfect Timing isn’t the most keenly plotted sex farce; some of the situations which put Cordelia in a tizzy are overly contrived, even for this genre.  But adept performances keep you interested and amused.

 

As a prig Thompson’s timing and deportment are faultless.  Savage is charming as a dim but affable bloke from a working class background, unaccustomed to the hypocrisies of the middle class.  And Joelle turns the self-effacing Vivianna into someone to really care about.

 

As Cordelia, Anker’s delivery is stagier and less convincing.  There’s a spillover between the poseur element in the character and the performance itself.  Both could use more layers.

 

 

Theatre 40 at the Reuben Cordova Theater, 241 Moreno, Beverly Hills, Thurs.-Sat., 8 p.m.; Sundays, 2 p.m., Wed., December 2 and 16, 8 p.m.; dark November 26-27; through December 21. (310) 364-0535 or www.Theatre40.org. Running time: 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission.

 

 

 

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